David’s Friends

After David killed Goliath, the people praised David, and his popularity soared even higher than the king himself, King Saul. Of course, King Saul didn’t take this too well, and was filled with paranoia, jealousy and rage. He made it his life’s work to eliminate David, because he was a threat to his power and popularity. So for most of the second half of 1 Samuel, David is on the run for his life. This was a time of great uncertainty and pain for David.

I want you to think about the position King Saul is putting others in because of his jealousy and lust for control! He is alienating himself from his family and from the best people in his land (Jonathan, Michal, Samuel, David, etc.). Our jealousy, fear, paranoia, desire to control and rage will drive great wedges between ourselves and the very people who can help us the most!

In Chapter 19 of 1 Samuel, we see at least four individuals who were true friends to David. There’s a country song that says, “You find out who your friends are.” That was especially true for David. But what does it mean to be a friend? At a practical level how did the following people show themselves to be a friend to David?

Jonathan spoke well of David.

1 Samuel 19:4 And Jonathan spoke well of David to Saul his father and said to him, “Let not the king sin against his servant David, because he has not sinned against you, and because his deeds have brought good to you.

It’s easy to speak well of someone when you have a friendly audience. This wasn’t easy for Jonathan. Read verse 1 of chapter 19. ” And Saul spoke to Jonathan his son and to all his servants, that they should kill David. But Jonathan, Saul’s son, delighted much in David.” Jonathan had just received a direct order from his dad and king to kill David. Not very easy at this point to say something nice about David, is it? But Jonathan stood up to his dad and stood up for David and defended him. Jonathan reminded his father of the good that David had done and did not accept Saul’s premise that David was guilty and needed to die. It actually worked in chapter 19, King Saul listened to Jonathan. The next time this happens in chapter 20, Saul tries to kill Jonathan, his own son!

What about you and me? How do we respond when someone is talking bad about people? Do we stand up for those being gossiped about, or are we intimidated by the person who is gossiping to us? Do we consider that there are usually two sides to a story? “The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him” (Proverbs 18:17).

David had a friend in Jonathan because Jonathan risked his life and his relationship with his father in order to speak well of David.

Michal protected David.

1 Samuel 19:12 So Michal let David down through the window, and he fled away and escaped.

Michal was one of the daughters of King Saul. When David killed Goliath, one of the rewards was being able to marry the king’s daughter. King Saul wasn’t faithful in keeping that promise and gave his first daughter (Merab) away to another man. Then King Saul added another condition for David to meet before he could marry the next daughter, Michal. You see, King Saul noticed that Michal loved David, and was going to use her as a pawn to get David killed. David was required to go out and kill 100 Philistines and bring back evidence from their bodies that they were dead. So, David brought back twice the evidence! He killed 200 Philistines (1 Samuel 18:20-27)! Saul could not refuse him now, he gave Michal to David.

But look what happens next. Is Saul happy that Michal and David love each other? No. It drives him mad! He can’t handle that his own daughter is in love with the man he hates! Michal’s love can’t be controlled by him, so he is having a fit.

1 Samuel 18:28-30 But when Saul saw and knew that the LORD was with David, and that Michal, Saul’s daughter, loved him, Saul was even more afraid of David. So Saul was David’s enemy continually. Then the commanders of the Philistines came out to battle, and as often as they came out David had more success than all the servants of Saul, so that his name was highly esteemed.

In chapter 19, we see Saul again going mad with jealousy, a lust for control and paranoia. His rage got the better of him and he tried to once again kill David with the spear. David escaped, so Saul sent people to David and Michal’s house to kill David. Michal is put into a position where she has to defy her father and protect David. She helps her husband escape out a window and puts a decoy in the bed!

Michal was a friend to David because she chose to stand up for her husband and protect him.

Samuel listened to David.

1 Samuel 19:18 Now David fled and escaped, and he came to Samuel at Ramah and told him all that Saul had done to him. And he and Samuel went and lived at Naioth.

Remember Samuel? He’s the old prophet and judge that Israel cast to the side because they wanted a king. We haven’t heard much from Samuel since he anointed David in chapter 16. But apparently he’s still around, and when David needed to get away, Samuel is first on his mind. Samuel may have been put out to pasture by Israel, but he was still useful for God’s purpose!

Samuel provided a refuge for David. He gave David a listening ear. Samuel had his own run-ins with King Saul, didn’t he (1 Samuel 13,15)? David had a friend in Samuel because Samuel gave him a safe place.

A few questions here are appropriate. Who is that Samuel for you? When things are getting all turned upside down, who is the Samuel in your life who gives you a safe place and a listening ear? Also, are you a Samuel for others? Do people feel safe coming to you for refuge and a listening ear?

All three of these friends (Jonathan, Michal and Samuel) put themselves at risk because they stood up for David instead of turning him into King Saul.

God put a miraculous shield around David.

1 Samuel 19:20 Then Saul sent messengers to take David, and when they saw the company of the prophets prophesying, and Samuel standing as head over them, the Spirit of God came upon the messengers of Saul, and they also prophesied.

God saw what King Saul was doing. The Holy Spirit saw those men coming to arrest David, and he miraculously forced them to prophesy. The only words these men could say were God’s words. This happened two more times, and then King Saul himself came, and Holy Spirit forced Saul to prophesy. There was a Holy Spirit bubble around David. Like the Psalms, “He allowed no one to oppress them; he rebuked kings on their account, saying, “Touch not my anointed ones, do my prophets no harm!” (Psalms 105:14-15).

Bad things would still happen to David, but we can see that God was there working for David to shelter him. God was the best friend to David.

Even later on when David had no friends, he always had God.

1 Samuel 30:6 – And David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because all the people were bitter in soul, each for his sons and daughters. But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God.

My mom would say to us that God is our best friend. I’ve forgotten that at times, but she was right. God was David’s best friend. David had some really good friends, but they could never be the great defender and protector that God is.

Aaron Kemple

Author: Aaron Kemple

Romans 8:1 - There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.